The Cycle of Axer Carrick
Part V -- Riding the Wave
The Revised Version
by Henry Wyckoff
December 1995


Standard disclaimers apply


Prologue

We have been here for as long as we became aware.

We have watched over the world,
observing and rolling the dice.

We have been guided by our mission,
given to us by the very nature of the universe itself.

Unseen, we will accomplish aims,
unstopped by heaven and hell --
using them as our very tools.

Time is our instrument,
and space the chessboard
that we control with foresight and skill.

We have watched and guided without failure until now.

The first failure was due to Halscombe...
The second failure was due to Halscombe...
The third failure was due to Halscombe...

It's all his fault.

To err is human -- it's inevitable.
To forgive is godly -- it's a weakness.
To wipe mistakes away and maintain control is expedient.

We are the Invisible Ones.

We will shake the world with the
twining of thought, word, and deed.
And so we will remain Unseen because this time,
we're making sure the job is done the right way --

We're doing it ourselves.

* * * *

Chapter 1

Axer looked nervously at the riot outside. Nobody seemed to be focusing on the Raven -- it was Tyrsson slaughtering Odinsson, and Odinsson slaughtering Tyrsson, but there was always the possibility that this could escalate, as riots had a tendency to do.

"How many of these have you been through?" asked Bill nervously as Axer peeked out the window, careful not to let any sunrays hit Kate or LaCroix.

Axer snorted, closing the shutter, "More than I could count. That's why I left Europe -- I was sick of the wars, which were just like these when you come down to it: a bunch of bored, drunk, or just plain stupid folks hammering each other to death in the middle of the streets."

"I thought the wars were the grand affairs with hundreds of thousands of people..."

Axer laughed, starting to load mercury-tips into his Glock clips. "You're living in a fantasy! Most wars back then were fought by a few desperate noblemen leading whatever serfs they could pull off their lands! When harvest or planting time came, the wars would end! That is, until the professional soldiers came along -- but even then, you had maybe a few hundred at most on each side. No... this would have looked like a full-scale war at its worst."

Scully and Mulder listened to this conversation with raised eyebrows. Scully had finally accepted in her heart that immortals existed in this world, but it was still disconcerting when she heard someone like Axer nonchalantly talk about times long past. With his beard shaved off, he looked like a twenty year-old drifter, and not a 2500 year old immortal.

To Mulder, this was a fascinating experience, and he crammed every sound in his memory so that he could record it all later. His eyes were open with wonder as he nearly put himself back into the scenes that Axer described... until Scully elbowed him, breaking his concentration.

"Might as well set up some barricades," muttered Axer. He raised his voice, "I think we should start preparing for the worst. Let's set up some barricades at all the doors and windows."

"With what?" asked Bill, looking around.

"With the chairs and tables, of course!" Axer started to grab tables and set them up against the front door. He looked at everyone else, still seated and looking at him, "What's your problem? Do you want them barging in through the front door?"

With guilty expressions, everyone -- even Joe, who might have had some excuse because of his false legs -- helped to riot-proof the place. They didn't have any boards to put up over the windows, but they did have chairs and tables, which would do at least some good in blocking the doors. All the windows had wooden shutters -- for obvious reasons, this being a vampire bar -- so that helped.

Axer stuck his ear to the window and frowned, "It looks like it's coming this way. You two had better get downstairs," he looked meaningfully at LaCroix and Kate.

"I'll stay right here!" snorted Kate.

"And you'll burn to ashes right there if those rioters break in here!" yelled Axer.

Axer may have been abrasive, but Kate could see the genuine concern in his eyes. The last thing she wanted to do was hide in the basement like a coward -- but she was also practical, and afraid -- so she went downstairs. LaCroix followed her without any apparent resentment or concern.

Kermit emerged from his nap, for once looking exhausted and confused. "What's all the noise about?" His shades were off, and his eyes were wide in disorientation.

"Didn't you know there was a riot outside?" demanded Axer in shock.

Kermit shook his head. "I've been asleep for the last few hours, after I spent all night trying to figure out your toy."

"Any luck?"

"No."

Axer snorted, "Then grab your gun and get ready for anything."

Kermit did a quick assessment, "Not bad, considering that's all we have here. No Molotov cocktails -- you're thinking!"

Mulder was a bit confused at the one, "Why do you say that?"

Kermit looked at Mulder like he was an idiot, "Think about what happens if they throw one in here, and it hits your stockpile!"

"Oh."

* * *



Outside, the rioters had become more violent, and as Axer had predicted, the violence became much less focused. Now, shops and cars were broken into and looted. Sure, the two rival groups were still beating one another into the ground, but those who were not members of these groups decided that they'd have some fun and do a few things they'd been wanting to do for a long time.

In the midst of all this fighting, a single figure stood still, looking intently at the Raven. He was a tall, thin, and ascetic-looking man. Bone-white hair flowed in fine waves down his angular shoulders to his belt. His face was the smooth skin of a teen, without any hint of beard growth, making him look quite young. His tranquil blue eyes gazed at the shutter-blocked windows and the solid doors.

He paid no mind to the rioters, who seemed to flow around him as if he were as insignificant as an obstacle -- seen but not considered as important.

One of the rioters took a good look at the Raven -- an Odinsson, but one ignorant of what his brethren had done here a few years back -- and he yelled, "Let's sack the Raven!"

There was a joyous cry as they surrounded the place as one and began to hammer on the doors and windows.

* * *

Axer, who had continually kept an ear out for just such an occurrence, yelled to everyone in a commanding tone, "You'd better get ready!"

The place was holding up better than anyone expected. If Janette had been here, she could have told them that -- it was built to ensure that no vampire would accidentally get a single ray of sunlight.

It was still frightening, however, to hear the pounding, the screaming, and cursing from everyone outside. Everyone, even Axer, shook and cringed every time a door threatened to pull loose from the hinges, or every time a window shattered... and the shutters held firm.

* * *

The white-haired man viewed all this on the outside with humor. //Now, what would I do?...// He took a step back, taking his time, aware that nothing significant would happen here. The insiders, or two of them at least, were used to sieges.

He was used to sieges as well, but usually from the outside.

//What would I do?// He looked at the sewer cap in the street and smiled.

* * *

The rioters broke in through the front door, and about ten managed to get into the place before they were shot dead by several well-armed and kill-hardened people. Mulder and Scully weren't part of that group -- they were standing back, too frightened and shocked to move, and too obsessed with law and order to shoot at the rioters, never mind the fact they had done just that with the black-box men only a few hours before. Maybe it was because these folks were just regular people with a touch of riot-fever, as if it somehow made a difference.

Kermit, Axer, Bill, and Joe were firing with steady nerves - - one shot, one kill. Their ammunition ran out, however, and that was when about twenty rioters got inside -- over the corpses of dozens of men. Axer was prepared for this, and had his glaive drawn.

He was pretty bloodthirsty -- even he had to admit it. His hair was normally tied into a ponytail, but now it was all waving wildly as he efficiently killed everyone coming through the doorway. Pretty soon, he was blocking the doorway.

His movements were so smooth and perfect they almost seemed like they were choreographed -- he was always in the right place at the right time, and seemed to know what everyone was going to do next.

* * *

A funny thing about choreography -- someone was videotaping his every movement, saying things to herself like, "Wow!" and "How the hell did he do that?!" It was a good thing her camera could do some of the work like focusing and light adjustment on its own, or she would have lost a great deal of the footage.

She was at just the proper angle to catch every single movement, catching every single detail on his face. He went from battle madness to cold rage to crafty playing. No matter what his apparent mood, he was a swift and efficient killer, that was for sure. Within two minutes, he had neatly killed forty rioters and had cleared out an area around him.

By now, he was splattered with blood and intestine material, with several severed limbs on the ground in front of him. When he saw that there was a lull in the fighting, because of that space he had cleared around him, he seemed to be angry about it and began to search for rioters to kill.

The Odinssons, who were the only ones raiding the Raven, began to notice all the corpses suddenly, and had second thoughts. With the Tyrssons on one side and the killer on the other, they decided to take the safest course and run away through one of the alleys.

The riot wasn't over, however -- this was all a side skirmish that took place while the riot moved elsewhere. It was like a tornado that moved on -- it was only over for this place, and maybe for only a short time.

The camerawoman smiled as she stopped the tape -- Axer was beginning to come to his senses. Just before she stored it, she heard the clearing of a throat behind her.

Turning, she saw an amused-looking nerd standing a few feet away, holding out his hand, "The videotape, please."

"Screw that!" she snarled, pulling out a gun.

* * *

Odin had managed to crawl from the ruins a while ago, and was now resting against a rock. He didn't know who'd started the fire -- maybe he'd dione it himself -- but it felt good.

He could do nothing else but dwell in his memories...

*

...It was a hot day in Old-Town Cottonwood, Arizona -- the thermometer went tilt at 120 degrees. It may have been miserable outside, but inside Whalefeathers, it was pretty nice. Sure, it was still pretty hot inside -- but the fans were blowing on high, the swamp cooler was on, and both the men inside were sweating waterfalls, so everything was going pretty well.

One of the men was the owner, a man who could have looked like Custer. His hair was yellow-blonde, and his eyes were as blue as the clear sky. A thick handlebar mustache hung from his face, firmly grasping a few bits of food and dried juice. He was a thin and wiry man who looked like he smoked one too many cigarettes, or something else.

The other man was a free-spirited traveler by the name of Jake Draker. He was a torn-t-shirt-wearing drifter with a bit of an intellectual edge to him. A seventeen year-old who'd run away from a home where his alcoholic dad beat him to a bloody pulp every day, he could quote Shakespeare in a tear-inducing manner one moment, and gut a violent gang kid the next. Though he came from the wrong side of the tracks, this was one sharp kid... and a frightening one.

Old Custer was a tough old man, so he didn't mind Jake too much. He had his own edge, so he didn't pay too much attention to a young buck like Jake.

They were both drinking coffee and smoking some nice cigars. Jake looked at him in an uplifted-face expression, "So, do you have what I need?"

"Sure," said Custer. "What do you want to know?"

"Tell me about the spear."

Custer sucked in some smoke pretty deeply. "That there's a good question... It's a pretty old one, I can tell you that much, but it's shaken the world a damn lot. It's called the Spear of Destiny, or Gungnir -- by the Vikings.

"Historically, it was the spear that Longinus used to pierce the chest of Jesus as he hung from the cross -- I know, you're not a Christian, but give me a break here... Well, anyway, everyone else believed that was a fact, which is what counts. Charlemagne possessed it -- and with it carved away an empire, and when he died his empire was split up into three parts.

"Napoleon tried to wrest it from the Austrians, and spent a great deal of effort in trying to possess it -- and failed miserably.

"When Hitler possessed it -- wresting it from that Vienna museum -- he conquered Europe like a fire through a wheat field -- but when it was taken from him, he went insane and his empire crumbled into flames."

"Are you saying that this spear is cursed?" asked Jake intently.

"No..." considered Custer. "I'm saying that this spear has a tendency to bring out the best and worst in things and people. Consider this: what comes up must come down. That spear is a hell of a springboard, but when you stop soaring, you have a hell of a long way to come down."

Jake considered that. "If this is a Christian spear, then what is it doing in Norse mythology?"

"Well, that's my own theory on it. The spear seemed to have a certain magic about it, and when you think about it, Odin seemed to have that same rise up-crash down phenomenon happen to him. He was king of the gods, and came crashing down -- pretty damn hard..."

*

...Odin held the spear in hand, smiling. But his smile left as more memories came. Even in his weakened state, he howled in horror.

* * * *


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